Weekly remarks: GOP sees more taxes, debt in healthcare reform; Obama sees progress at UN
Hello, I'm Senator Johnny Isakson from Georgia.
First, I want to send my condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives in the floods that have devastated my home state this past week. I am working with Senator Saxby Chambliss, Governor Sonny Perdue and the administration to bring federal assistance to those who have suffered damages.
I’d like to now discuss the healthcare debate in Washington that folks in my state and people all across this country have been watching very closely. Americans have been calling us and e-mailing us.
They’ve packed our town hall meetings.
They’ve even marched on the National Mall in Washington.
Their message has been loud, and it has been clear: They don't like the direction this healthcare debate is headed in.
They get anxious when they see the President and the Democrats in such a rush to pass a 1,000-page bill to overhaul our healthcare system.
They get anxious when they see the word billions and trillions to describe...
...the cost because they know Washington doesn't have that kind of extra cash lying around.
They know that can only mean one thing – more debt and higher taxes.
They get anxious when they hear Democrats want to cut hundreds of billions from Medicare because they know you can't cut costs without cutting benefits for our seniors.
They get anxious when they hear public option, trigger or co-op because they know those are just different labels that can lead to the same thing -- government control of our healthcare system.
They know government-run healthcare doesn't work in Canada or in England, and it won’t work in America either.
How did the Democrats respond to all these concerns this week when they unveiled their latest version of this bill?
They didn’t. They ignored them altogether.
The Senate Finance Committee took up yet another healthcare bill that looks an awful lot like the Democrats' earlier proposals. It would still result in a major expansion of government into our healthcare, and the cost will be $1 trillion, $700 billion over 10 years when the bill is fully implemented.
It would still cut Medicare benefits for our seniors.It would still expand Medicaid dramatically, forcing my state and states across the country to pay billions for their share of the expansion.
And it would still impose taxes on virtually every American and small business.
If you have insurance, you get taxed.
If you don’t have insurance, you get taxed.
If you’re an employer who cannot afford to provide health insurance to your employees, you get taxed.
Manufacturers of medical devices such as hearing aids will get taxed. That means anyone who needs these devices will pay higher prices.
I ran a small business in Georgia for 22 years, and I know what it’s like to have to make payroll during tough times.
The kind of massive tax increases proposed by the Democrats is exactly the wrong approach for our families, our small businesses and our economy, especially in a recession.
Republicans believe the key to reforming healthcare is strengthening the doctor-patient relationship by using choice and competition – rather than rationing and restrictions – to contain costs and ensure access to affordable healthcare.And Republicans want common-sense medical liability reform to eliminate frivolous lawsuits against doctors and hospitals.
This latest proposal from the Democrats calls for only a non-binding ‘Sense of the Senate’ on medical liability. This is lip service that will do nothing to lower healthcare costs.
Americans are rightly concerned about the rush to pass a massive overhaul that will raise their taxes, lower their quality of care and put government between them and their doctor.
They also are concerned about the heavy-handed approach the Democrats have taken, such as demonizing regular citizens for asking questions about their plans and imposing a gag order on insurers for suggesting anyone might lose benefits under the Democrats’ plan.The American people expect us to get this right and to do it in an open, honest and bipartisan debate.
That’s what they deserve. But, that’s not what they’re getting from the Democrats on Capitol Hill.
Thank you and God bless you and God bless the United States of America. ###
As I said at the U.N., over the past nine months my administration has renewed American leadership, and pursued a new era of engagement in which we call upon all nations to live up to their responsibilities. This week, our engagement produced tangible results in several areas.
In Pittsburgh, the world’s major economies agreed to continue our effort to spur global demand to put our people back to work. We committed ourselves to economic growth that is balanced and sustained — so that we avoid the booms and busts of the past.
We reached an historic agreement to reform the global financial system — to promote responsibility and prevent abuse so that we never face a crisis like this again. And we reformed our international economic architecture, so that we can better coordinate our effort to meet the challenges of the 21st century.We also established American leadership in the global pursuit of the clean energy of the 21st century. I am proud that the G-20 nations agreed to phase out $300 billion worth of fossil fuel subsidies. This will increase our energy security, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, combat the threat of climate change, and help create the new jobs and industries of the future.
In New York, we advanced the cause of peace and security. I joined the first meeting between Israeli and Palestinian leaders in nearly a year — a meeting that even nine months ago did not seem possible. And we resolved to move forward in the journey toward a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East.
We also took unprecedented steps to secure loose nuclear materials; to stop the spread of nuclear weapons; and to seek a world without them. As the first U.S. president to ever chair a meeting of the United Nations Security Council, I was proud that the Council passed an historic and unanimous resolution embracing the comprehensive strategy I outlined this year in Prague.
We reaffirmed the basic compact of the global nonproliferation regime: all nations have the right to peaceful nuclear energy; nations with nuclear weapons have the responsibility to move toward disarmament; and nations without them have the responsibility to forsake them.The United States is meeting our responsibilities by pursuing an agreement with Russia to reduce our strategic warheads and launchers. And just as we meet our responsibilities, so must other nations, including Iran and North Korea.
Earlier this year, we imposed tough, new, sanctions on North Korea to stop their efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction. And we will continue to stand with our allies and partners to press North Korea to move in a new direction.
This week, we joined with the United Kingdom and France in presenting evidence that Iran has been building a secret nuclear facility to enrich uranium.My offer of a serious, meaningful dialogue to resolve this issue remains open. But Iran must now cooperate fully with the International Atomic Energy Agency, and take action to demonstrate its peaceful intentions.
On this, the international community is more united than ever before. Yesterday, I stood shoulder-to-shoulder with our European allies in condemning Iran’s program. In our meetings and public statements, President Medvedev of Russia and I agreed that Iran must pursue a new course or face consequences. All of the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, and Germany, have made it clear that Iran must fulfill its responsibilities.
Iran’s leaders must now choose – they can live up to their responsibilities and achieve integration with the community of nations. Or they will face increased pressure and isolation, and deny opportunity to their own people.
These are the urgent threats of our time. And the United States is committed to a new chapter of international cooperation to meet them. This new chapter will not be written in one week or even one year. But we have begun. And for the American people and the people of the world, it will mean greater security and prosperity for years to come. ###
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Photos: Associated Press; Office of Rep. Isakson; Ron Edmonds / Associated Press; Associated Press (Obama at Pittsburgh news conference).